Last night Council approved the budget for 2015 — this is great news — now the work can begin. The budget process took considerable time and effort, as the process began almost immediately after the election. King Township Staff did a fabulous job of preparing a base budget that was a true reflection of Council’s direction. As a newly elected Councillor, I very much appreciated the amount of care and detail that was put into the budget presentation.
On December 15th, 2014 Staff presented a budget that would have resulted in a five percent increase in the Township’s portion of our taxes (an increase of $79.00 per household). The increase would allow for a boost in Township services, as well as allow funds to be directed in to reserves and infrastructure. Council’s direction to Staff was that an increase five perecent was too much to ask of our tax payers and to re-examine the budget for ways to cut costs. Staff worked hard looking at many angles and came back to Council with a proposed increase of 3.99 percent.
On a whole the budget was very good — as a Council the general feel was that we needed to reduce the budget further. Last night we took a team based approach aimed at being accountable with absolutely every tax dollar. You could say that no stone was left unturned as we worked to reduce the tax rate. We were able to scrape and save just over an additional one percent off the budget reducing the increase to an approximate 2.95 percent.
The areas that the cuts were made were include:
Fire Department Sprinklers: it was proposed to install sprinkler systems in all three of the fire stations at a cost of $120,000. The project will now be spread over three years outfitting one station per year – thus spreading out the impact on the tax payer. This resulted in an $80,000 reduction in the assessment.
Engineering and Public Works: the initial proposal slated $94,000 for street sweeping. The rate was based on providing two sweeps over the course of 2015. However, the Township is purchasing a street sweeper out of development charges due to growth at a cost of $250,000 (projects out of DC funds do not have an impact on the assessment rate). Staff estimates the process of obtaining the new sweeper will take eight months. Council’s direction to Staff was to reduce the contracted sweep to spring only as we should be able to do the fall sweep with our own staff and new equipment. This resulted in a savings of $23,000. A staff position in the Engineering Department was also deferred resulting in a savings of over $53,000.
Staff was directed to make further program modifications to the sum of $39,000. The end result was a one percent total reduction in the assessment equalling approximately $197, 000.
2015 Ward Two Project Highlights Include:
- Community park
- Swimming pool upgrade
- New ice surfacing machine
- Design and financial analysis of Phase Two Sewers
- Installation of a roadway in the Nobleton Cemetery
Last night the Boards and Committee Representatives were approved. I would like to thank Councillors Mortelliti and Schaefer and Staff for the amount of thought that went into making these selections, as I know there were many skilled applicants that applied.
2015 is shaping up to be a great year.